Two Turkish journalists have been freed on bail after over a year behind bars in the trial on terror-related charges of staff from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper. The case is seen as a test of press freedom under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu and investigative reporter Ahmet Şik were ordered to be freed by the judge after a day-long hearing.
However they remain under charge and on trial. One more detained suspect, the paper’s chairman Akin Atalay, was ordered to stay in jail.
The three were the last remaining suspects in the case to be held ahead of a final verdict, leaving Atalay the sole suspect still behind bars.
A total of 17 staff from Cumhuriyet face terror charges in the trial, which opened on 24 July. Others have been gradually freed over the last year. It is still not clear when the final verdict will be announced.
The next hearing in the trial was set for 16 March and the suspects still face up to 43 years in prison if convicted.
Sabuncu and Atalay have spent the last 495 days in jail and Şik, who was detained a little after the initial wave of arrests, 434 days.